Happy Mardi Gras!

Meet MattheIMG_4883w Boudreaux, a Junior from Lafayette, LA. Matt is studying Human Resource Education – Leadership and Development. He also serves as the Orientation Team Leader for FOAP 2016, LSU Ambassadors, Greek Ambassadors, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.

What’s that I hear? Sounds like police sirens combined with a marching band but also little hint of Cajun music?!?!….Ohh its must be MARDIS GRAS season! Perhaps one of the holidays looked forward to by most Louisianan’s is officially upon us! During this time you can see a King Cake in every home and office, beads hanging from the electrical lines along the street and everyone rocking a green, yellow and purple Perlis rugby shirt! But how did this little holiday celebrated in the south actually come about?

Mardis Gras, otherwise known as Fat Tuesday, is a celebration of the Christian feast of the Three Kings. This is why we have we have things like King Cake with a plastic baby hidden inside (to represent Jesus Christ). We do everything BIGGER and BETTER in the south so that is why you see miles of parade floats and tons and tons of beads being throw because we just want to celebrate! During a typical Mardis Gras season, the average person will attend local parades in their hometowns and catch up with old friends and family. They will all get together along a parade route, visit, eat together and anxiously await the parade krewe, yes Krewe, to pass in front of them throwing beads, toys, cups and maybe even some more random items. IMG_3794

Perhaps if you are lucky enough, you will even attend a Mardis Gras Ball during the season. A Ball is a formal event put on by the heads of a Mardis Gras Krewe. Everyone who is invited to the Ball gets dressed up in a tux or a formal gown and have one big party! At the beginning, the court of the Ball is presented. This includes the King and Queen, the Maids and Dukes, and even some entertainment from the Court Jester! After that, it is time to party! Fun, dancing and music will carry on until the early hours of the morning for any good Mardi Gras Ball. I was lucky enough to attend my first Ball this past weekend with the Krewe of Olympus in Lafayette, LA! My best friend Megan was a maid of the Krewe and she invited me as her guest! It was truly an awesome experience and I can’t wait to do it all over again this coming weekend with the Krewe of Christopher in Thibodaux, LA!

Some of my favorite memories of the Mardis Gras season were when I was younger and back in my hometown. I lived right along the parade route for my hometown’s parade so I would be woken up by loud music and people every year. All I had to do was throw on my Mardis Gras colors and walk out the front door to join the party. I remember playing in the front yard with my friends and family as people would walk by and we would wait for the parade to get to us. There would always be a smell of gumbo, jambalaya and King Cake in the air and we’d always have the music blaring in the background. Then we would hear the police sirens…that was when the parade was officially here! By the end of the parade, I would have bags and bags of beads (one time even a truck load), enough cups to fill a shelf in the kitchen and also some other fun little prizes. Celebrating with my family and friends every Mardis Gras season is always the highlight.

If you’re not fIMG_3792rom Louisiana and are even the slightest bit interested in this “crazy” celebration…PLEASE book your flight now and head on own to the Boot because we would love to have you and show you what Mardis Gras is all about! And if you are from the great state of Louisiana, I can’t wait to see you walking the streets and yelling, “HEY THROW ME SOMETHING MISTER!”

 

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Finding The Major Key To Your Major

 

11011182_10205311904024452_5584625840562960430_nMeet Tori Callais, a Senior majoring in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Women and Gender Studies. She is also minoring is social work and sociology and is from Denham Springs, Louisiana. Tori is involved in LSU Ambassadors, NSCS, Leadership LSU and served as the Orientation Team Leader this past summer.

College is about finding out what you’re passionate about, who you are, who you want to be and finding what makes you excited to learn. Many of those things come from declaring your major once, twice, or maybe a few more times (it happens). Each major is like a different shoe and it’s up to you to find the perfect style and fit for you. Once you find that major that makes you excited to learn and passionate about going to class- it’s a pretty incredible feeling. Sometimes finding it can take years, or maybe if you’re lucky you knew right from the start. But once you find the major that is fit for you and challenges you, how do you react when people shut it down? Or decide that your major and your passions are irrelevant?

There always seems to be this ranking of “important majors” to “less important majors.” You can hear it walking through the Student Union or the library on any given day. “Oh you’re an engineer? You’re going places!” “Oh, you’re majoring in Liberal Arts? Oh…”. Needless to say comments like these help keep this system of “important” majors and “less important” majors in the mindset of many students. But why do we celebrate some majors over others instead of supporting the pursuit of different academic realms? best-memes-boromir

When talking to my best friend the other day about our majors, I noticed that we both have found our niche in college and although our majors aren’t considered money makers in the future, they truly inspire us to learn as much as possible and to continue our academic careers. One thing he said that was upsetting and was something I identified with as well, was how when he told people his major they looked at him with disapproval or even pity. His major of sports administration prompts many questions from friends and family alone of, “what are you going to do with that?” Comments like, “that’s not a real major” from outsiders don’t do much to help one’s confidence on their academic endeavors. Both of our majors will require us to attend graduate school after our undergraduate years, but we both love what we study and going to school a little longer is a plus for us. This conversation I had with him has been repeated in different ways with other friends countless times, and I’m sure other students have had similar conversations as well. So, what do you do if the only people who see the value in your degree are at a limited number?

Tips and tricks for those who have ever been this situation: 

* Be confident in your studies. You chose your degree path for a reason, and it’s important to be confident in that decision. If you aren’t confident in your studies, who else will be?

* Take time to explain why you chose your degree path, and the different places it can take you.

* Don’t be afraid to open up dialogue about your passions. When people see your excitement about your major, they will be able to see the significance of it.

* Encourage others to open up meaningful dialogue with others about what their degree path offers for them.

Although my major does not guarantee a hefty paycheck one day, my academic studies have made me find what I want to pursue after college. I am always excited to go to class because I am learning about something I truly love and want to gain more knowledge on. You’ll never hear me complaining about one of my classes, and I walk with confidence about my degree. Remember that college is a huge and it can be your platform to be the person you want to be. Always stay true to who you are and find your own passion, no matter the title of the degree. And of course, Love Purple and Live Gold!12299110_10205596576741092_4483773923760294457_n

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Back to School

11885339_955484164494592_331845813517572457_nMeet Jordan Lange, a Junior majoring in Biological Sciences from Erath, Louisiana.  I Jordan is involved in LSU Ambassadors and served as an Orientation Leader for the College of Science this past summer.

As winter break comes to an end, it is time to return to Baton Rouge for the start of the spring semester. I am sure that students are currently getting last minute things together in order to prepare for the first day of school. I am sad that winter break is over, but I missed my home here in Baton Rouge and am excited to get this semester started.

I spent most of my break back home in the small town of Erath, Louisiana. It was great getting to visit with friends from high school and spend quality time with my family. I hope that everyone had a great holiday season and the opportunity to eat delicious home cooking in the weeks that we were away from campus. Being from South Louisiana and Cajun Country, I can assure you that I ate some delicious food including many servings of gumbo and rice and gravy. By far my favorite part of winter break was cheering on the LSU Football team at the 2015 AdvoCare Texas Bowl in Houston, Texas. Having the opportunity to watch Leonard Fournette score five touchdowns and to hear Callin’ Baton Rouge in NRG Stadium surrounded by thousands of Tiger Fans was incredible.12182481_990855720957436_2722092496713124772_o

It is time now for the spring semester to start and I could not be more excited to return to my home away from home, Baton Rouge. With spring classes beginning today, remember that you and your student have done this before. The freshmen class has made it through the first semester and is much more familiar with college now. My best advice for the spring semester is to hit the ground running from the first day. It can be hard for students to get back into a routine coming off a long break, but it is important for them to make a schedule as soon as possible. Always remember that the start of a new semester is a clean slate. Regardless of how your student did last semester or in semesters before that, spring 2016 is a new semester and gives every student a chance to put their best foot forward. Always remember that your student is not alone at LSU and that there are resources here to help including the Center for Academic Success, the Student Health Center, and the Center for Freshman Year (UCFY). These resources and the LSU faculty and staff are dedicated to helping students succeed at LSU.

For parents and families, my best advice is to always be there for your student. College can be very stressful and emotional at times, but it can also be the experience of a lifetime. I call my mom and dad often just to talk about things and share my experiences. My parents always send me words of encouragement before my tests and remind me that hard work and dedication will pay off later in life. As students, we are thankful for you, our parents and families, because we depend on you for encouragement and support.

I hope that everyone has a great first day and an even better spring semester. Orientation Leaders and Parent Orientation Leaders are always available to answer student questions. Love Purple, Live Gold, and Geaux Tigers!

 

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Finals Week Wrap Up

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My name is Cameron Frazier and I am a third year Mechanical Engineering student from Lacassine, Louisiana. I am currently serving as the Head Parent Orientation Leader for the upcoming summer of 2016. I have also served as an Orientation Leader and a member of STRIPES staff in the past. My parents, Ralph and Peggy Frazier, also serve as members of the Family Association Council. I began my collegiate career as Political Science major hoping to go to law school before eventually switching to Petroleum Engineering then Mechanical Engineering. I might have extended my time here at LSU, but I am very excited to have some extra time loving purple and living gold!!

Finals week: another has come and gone. With any luck, there won’t be too many more of these in my future. It can be an extremely stressful time for any student and an equally joyful time when that last test is finally turned in and you can FINALLY focus on what that glorious winter break holds: family time that you might never admit you enjoy, breaking your personal record for hours slept, and eating your body weight in home cooked meals and sugar (or maybe that just describes me, not sure). Before that, though, I think back on this finals week, and the numerous ones that came before it. Again, if you ask any studentIMG_0627, chances are they will be adamant about the unreal stress they experience during this cruel week. Getting to a point where you can wrap up the week and eventually the semester can seem impossible at times. The crazy thing, though, is not everything finals week presents is awful and stress-filled. Believe it or not, some strangely wonderful memories come from this week. I seem to always find myself surrounded by my friends during these weeks, which may or may not be a great study strategy.
Either way there is something very comforting about being surrounded by your friends, knowing how vital it is that you all stay busy so you “survive.” We always find it impossible to search for open spaces in the library, so instead we scurry to a building in the quad and snag an open classroom. This is where the fun begins. By fun, I of course mean the unmistakable grind that every LSU student adopts during this week. We always agree to a predetermined amount of time that we will study without speaking to each other. I wish I could tell you we are generally successful in following this silent time, but typically someone rolls off something so hilarious it disrupts our entire workflow. Chances are it’s never actually funny; it’s just lack-of-sleep delirium kicking in. This in a nutshell, is the beauty of grinding through finals week. Is it stressful? Sure. Is it easy to freak out at the shear size of the to-do-list? Of course. But the work always gets done and the tests always get taken; if you’re lucky you may even have a few bright spots along the way. Regardless of what you are (student, parent, or family member), trust that process and count down the minutes until those glorious winter break events I mentioned. Or that might still be just me……

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Tigers come home for the holidays

Meet Wfambam2aite Reeves. He is a sophomore from Lafayette, Louisiana and is majoring in Marketing with a Concentration in sales and a minor in Psychology. Waite is involved with LSU Ambassadors and served as an Orientation Leader for University College: Center for Advising and Counseling this past summer.

As the semester draws to an end and finals are approaching, I find myself looking forward to the holidays so much more than before. Coming to LSU was never my first choice, but when I came to campus I realized that there was no better place for me out there. The atmosphere on campus really does make LSU feel like a home away from home, which is so great because it helps for a good transition for freshman but can also make traveling home that much more difficult. The newly discovered sense of freedom that accompanies becoming a college student is something to take advantage of and get caught up in. Personally, I wanted to get so involved on campus that going home was just an afterthought because I had school throughout the week and events almost every weekend. I didn’t realize it then because I was fambam3having the time of my life getting to know campus and the fantastic people that I’d met, but going home was something that I NEEDED to do.

Between school, work, and LSU Ambassadors, this semester has been one of the roughest for me yet. In between planning out every second of every day, multiple breakdowns/spiritual awakenings, and just the uncertainty of college, my family was one thing that always remained constant. I never realized just how fantastic having such a great support system that was removed from my immediate college experience could be. With that being said, every student comes to this conclusion at a different time in their lives, whether it’s two weeks after moving out or four semesters into their college career. This in no way means that your students don’t want to come home and spend time with you. In fact, it’s quite the opposite; we want to come home just as much as you want us there. Going home practically becomes a vacation once you’re in college because it gives you a break from the stress of school and provides ton of relaxation time.

fambamSome of the best advice that I can offer to parents and students is to just be understanding and keep an open line of communication with each other. So much gets lost in translation, and the separation after eighteen years of living under the same roof can seem like too much to handle. But don’t fret! Feel free to talk to your students as much as you want, but don’t forget to give them their space too because college is such a growing experience. When the holidays come around, make sure to make time to spend as a family, but also leave some room for visiting old friends from home and just allow everyone to indulge in a little bit of R&R.

 

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Homecoming 2015

11953298_10152918380441330_533209100083436720_oAs we celebrated Homecoming at LSU, the Homecoming Committee hosted a week worth of festivities for the LSU community to revel in their purple and gold pride. This year’s theme was “Let the Good Times Roar,” which LSU did from the start of the week through the Tigers win in Death Valley. To start the week off, the student union was decorated with banners created by various student organization that were entered in a banner competition. Purple and gold adorned each one, along with references to Mike the Tiger, Tiger Stadium, and even specific players. The residential communities on campus also joined in on the fun by decorating their lobbies to create a more prideful space for their residents. They were not the only ones decorating, however, departments across campus were welcome to participate in a door decorating competition, which allowed for the faculty and staff to also show their love for LSU. Having the LSU community – students, staff, and faculty – involved from the start of the week creating an atmosphere that boosted the Homecoming tradition really set the tone for all of the Homecoming festivities. On Monday of Homecoming week, the Residential Hall Association hosted an event entitled “SplatterBeat” in the Parade Ground, creating a very fun and colorful experience for those students who attended. On Tuesday, CANapalooza began its blitz build, where students could volunteer to recreate Tiger Stadium utilizing canned food items that had been donated from the LSU community, which were then donated to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and the LSU Food Pantry. By the end of the week, 13,837 pounds of canned items to the Food Bank and 1,079 pounds of canned items to the LSU Food Pantry. The completed Tiger Stadium was showcased on the Parade Ground for all to admire on game day. On Wednesday, the Homecoming Committee hosted its 2nd Annual Field Day on the Parade Ground, which featured a student DJ, free treats for students, and interactive games including corn hole, ladder ball, an inflatable obstacle course, and many more. On Thursday, the Parade Ground was lively once again in support of the Homecoming Pep Rally and Block Party. The Pep Rally featured a welcoming from President F. King Alexander, the LSU Tiger Band, the LSU Golden Girls, the LSU Tiger Girls, and the Cheerleaders. Several athletic groups stopped by to join in on the fun and wish LSU a happy Homecoming. Also, the official 2015 Homecoming Court was announced and introduced to the LSU community. The night ended with a Block Party in the Parade Ground, allowing students to dance the night away. On Friday, the Student Activities Board hosted the Homecoming Concert featuring three student artists and the headliner, Tinashe. Saturday morning kicked off bright and early with the Homecoming Parade, where the Homecoming Court, student groups, and community members gathered and celebrated the Homecoming week with all of those who attended. This year’s Grand Marshall was Chuck Winstead, the 2015 National Champion Men’s Golf Coach. Following the Parade, a Tailgate and Battle of Bands were hosted in the Parade Ground to incite excitement before the game. During the game Bianca Webb and Michael Panther Mayen were crowned our 2015 Homecoming Queen and King! The week was concluded with a win against Western Kentucky with a final score of 20-48. Homecoming 2015 was a successful week for all students and alumni. We are already looking forward to Homecoming 2016!12052437_10152989218681330_5101923262147942200_o

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LSU Community “Takes the Pledge”

SAA HazingStudent Advocacy & Accountability is an office on campus at LSU here to “support student success and personal development as members of the LSU community by promoting academic integrity and appropriate standards of conduct through the Code of Student”. Their mission is “To advocate, engage, and support student commitment to the LSU community.  We enhance learning through educational interventions that foster student development.”

During the week of September 21-25, 2015 the LSU community joined together to raise awareness for National Hazing Prevention Week. Throughout the week, students, faculty, and staff “took the pledge” in committing to reporting and overall, end hazing on our campus. The life size board displayed over 275 12030467_1051081418257722_9132692382995392306_onames with representation from all over campus.  As parents and loved ones of your Tigers, we encourage you to use this information year round to serve as a resource to our students, faculty, staff, parents, families, alumni, and other interested parties in educating yourselves and your student on issues of hazing at Louisiana State University.

Visit lsu.edu/hazing for more information and to Report Hazing anonymously!

To learn more about the office of Student Advocacy & Accountability visit their website lsu.edu/saa

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It’s Not Goodbye; It’s See Ya Later!

me greyMeet Meagan Johnson from Hackberry, Louisiana. She is a senior and will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the Manship School of Mass Communication this summer. She is majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Broadcast Journalism and minoring in Political Science and History. Meagan is involved in LSU Ambassadors, Collegiate 4-H and the University Baptist Church College Group. Her favorite place on campus is the Parade Ground.

As the summer is coming to a close and I begin to look back at all of the memories I have made, I realize how blessed I was to have been a Parent Orientation Leader this summer. This experience is one that the rest of my team and I will never forget. It was wonderful getting to meet all of the parents and family members of our incoming tigers. We enjoyed sharing our experiences with you, answering questions, spinning that wheel at family game night, writing letters, encountering the blistering heat then sudden pouring rain and above all helping to make you feel comfortable about sending your students to LSU. I will always remember the moments we shared and I am thankful for getting to spend time with all of you.group theatre

With fall classes beginning soon, I am sure that all of you are trying to get last minute things together for you and your students to be prepared for this journey. One thing that may be very helpful for both you and your student to have is a list of resources that either of you may need throughout the semester. You all learned about several resources at orientation, but making a contact sheet will help you get in touch with different departments quickly. Here is an example of what your list could look like:

  • LSU Police Department- (225) 578-3231
  • Student Health Center- (225) 578-6271
  • Campus Transit- (225) 578-5555
  • University College: Center for Freshman Year- (225) 578-6822

group red shirtThere are many more departments and resources on campus that you may need and they are readily available at www.lsu.edu. Another very helpful resource for parents is the LSU Parent and Family Programs website www.lsu.edu/family. This is a great medium for parents to find answers to any questions they may have. The site provides information about different resources, orientation, the Parent and Family Association and upcoming events taking place.

The last piece of advice I have for all of you is to simply enjoy this experience. It can be a very emotional time, but it is important to remember that this is also an exciting one as well. Your student is about to embark on an incredible journey that you all have been working toward the past twelve years and with your support they can achieve it. Even though we are sad orientation is over, we know our journey with you all is not. We are always here as a resource for you and your students. We also hope to see you all again at Family Weekend October 2-4. It will be the perfect time for a reunion with your parent orientation leaders as well as a chance to see all of the amazing things your students are doing. I hope all of you have a wonderful year and Geaux Tigers!

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Tips For Your Tiger Week 10

DB 2Meet Drake Boudreaux from Lafayette, Louisiana. He is a junior and will be serving as the Head Parent Orientation Leader this summer. He is majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Digital Advertising and minoring in Visual Communication. Drake is involved in several organizations on campus such as LSU Ambassadors, Student Government and Dance Marathon. His favorite place on campus is Tiger Stadium.

Serving as the Head Parent Orientation Leader for LSU this summer has easily been the most rewarding experience of my life. Spending such an ample amount of time representing the University alongside these 10 individuals has allowed me to gain insight on so many new things. DB groupComing in to contact with a countless number of families from all over the country with such different stories helped me realize the diversity of this University and gain a new appreciation for where I came from and all the things my parents did for me.

It is true that I have not raised a child and for me to give advice on how to be a parent would be pretty silly. But I have learned quite a few things this summer that I feel would be beneficial for you, as families, to consider as you are sending your student off to Baton Rouge.

It’s not always about the product; it’s about the process.

If there is one thing I have learned from my POL team, it is that the process is just as important as the product. Chances are your student is coming to LSU with some clear goals in mind: walk across a stage, receive a degree, and be on the right path for a successful career. However, it is important to keep in mind that the journey to that stage is just as important. We make mistakes, we accidentally oversleep classes, and we change our majors. But we also make lifelong friends, DB kidunforgettable memories, and we explore what different things the world has to offer us. I’ve always appreciated my parents’ unyielding support while learning these things. Each family is different, but finding that middle ground between complete dependence and complete freedom is beneficial for everyone involved. In my family’s case, by allowing me to make my own decisions, find comfort in my independence, and become the pilot of where I wanted my life to take me (with a few stern reminders thrown in there), I feel like I am able to get more out of my college experience than just a degree. Also encourage your student to find a way to enjoy their time at LSU, take it all in, stop and smell the roses (or magnolias). It is true that these four years go by incredibly fast and should be some of the best and most memorable years of our lives.

Take advantage of opportunities

Ironically enough, talking to parents all summer about every single detail of my LSU experience really has made me reflect on the amazing opportunities this place offers it’s students. Whether students continue to do things the way they’ve always done them or they choose to completely DB srowreinvent themselves, there are resources and opportunities to accommodate the whole range. It took me quite a few tries to find a place where I felt I belonged on a campus with over 30,000 students. But in doing so, I found a way to make LSU my home away from home and benefit in every way possible from my 4 years here. Encourage your students to get involved in organizations, seek out resources if they need help, meet new people, try new things, and explore everything LSU has to offer.

Keep doing what you’re doing

One of the most important things I gained this summer was a newfound appreciation for my parents and all they’ve done for me. From teaching me how to make moral decisions all the way to never washing reds with whites, I’ve utilized every lesson, every “I told you so,” every opinion DB parentsthat I’ve ever received from my parents. I’ve learned that every student has a story and that the families of the university truly are the unsung heroes of campus. We would not be the diverse, well-rounded, fun loving, hospitable student body that we are without the families who raised us. So here is a round of applause to you all and what you have done! My piece of advice moving forward is simply…don’t stop. Continue to teach us lessons, continue to offer your insight, continue to support us through all trials and tribulations because the one thing as students that we should always be able to count on is that we have family members in our corners, rooting for our success.

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Tips For Your Tiger Week 9

BPMeet Brandon Power from Mandeville, Louisiana. He is a junior and will be serving as the Parent Orientation Leader for the College of Engineering. He is majoring in Industrial Engineering. Brandon is involved in LSU Ambassadors, Engineering Ambassadors, Institute of Industrial Engineers and the Sophomore Gold Program. His favorite place on campus is the Parade Ground.

When I looked at universities to attend, LSU was not my immediate choice. This was because of the same fear many students face when searching for colleges: the size of the student body. When I heard 30,000 students attended LSU, I was intimidated to say the least. I wanted to attend a school where people would know my face, professors would know my name, and I could run into my friends just by walking to class. Ultimately, it was my decision of where I would attend college. My family knew I was torn, and they continued to throw facts at me about how good of a school LSU is. BP flagThis made me reconsider attending LSU, however, this did not ease my fear of attending a school with 30,000 students. When it came time to make the final decision, my parents sat me down and said to me, “We want you to be happy with your choice and enjoy your college experience. If you do not enjoy your first choice, we will help you transfer schools.” In that moment, something inside of me told me to choose LSU, and looking back, I now know that this was the best decision I have ever made.

If you’re wondering how I went from being intimidated by LSU to being a die-hard tiger fan, it only took one step: GET INVOLVED! My entire college experience was shaped by those two words. Getting involved in organizations around campus has opened countless doors for me in college, as well as beyond LSU. It has made me proud of who I am today. Additionally, it made the campus feel smaller. I do not notice the size of the student body anymore. After getting involved, people know my face, professors know my name, and I run into many of my friends just by walking to class.

BP friendsAs a parent, encourage your student to get involved in multiple organizations around campus. As they get more involved, they will make more memories and have the college experience that they want. It might sound crazy at first to tell your student to take away time from studying, but getting involved actually helps students succeed. It teaches them valuable time management skills, how to interact with students and professionals, and it has been proven that students who participate in extra-curricular activities perform better in school.

LSU is a place that has everything your student is looking for. It is where I have made my greatest memories and my best friends. It is where I have found the people who will stand in my wedding and have learned what it truly means to Love Purple and Live Gold. Getting involved has made LSU more than a school to me, it is why I call LSU my home.

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